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Budget Session: Opposition boycotts RS alleging Chairman did not allow them to raise issues

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Parliament

New Delhi, Feb 6: Debate on Motion of Thanks to the President’s address continued in Parliament on Tuesday.

However, both the houses of the Parliament adjourned just a little while after the proceedings had begun.

As the Rajya Sabha adjourned till 2 pm after Rajya Sabha chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu rejected adjournment motions brought by parties such as Trinamool Congress, Akali Dal, and Telugu Desam.

While the Lok Sabha adjourned briefly following protest by members of BJP ally TDP and YSR Congress over budget allocation to Andhra Pradesh in the Union Budget 2018.

The session began on a tumultuous note, with TMC members staging a protest outside the house over rising fuel prices.

Later in a day, Leader of Opposition (LOP) Ghulam Nabi Azad told media opposition parties have decided to boycott Rajya Sabha for the day alleging that the RS Chairman did not allow them to speak and raise issues.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) issued whip to its Lok Sabha MPs to remain present in the Parliament on February 7 and 8, the Indian Express reported.

Lok Sabha

Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge listed issues of communal violence in Uttar Pradesh. Treasury Benches seek to drown his voice with slogans.

He lauded the central government for passing of the Benami Act and reform measures like demonetisation.

BJP MP from Dharwad (Karnataka) Prahlad Joshi seconds the motion moved by Rakesh Singh.

For the first time, more than 1,300 Muslim women undertook  Haj yatra without a male support this year. The government has brought a legislation to ban instant triple talaq, Singh said.

Rakesh Singh, BJP MP from Jabalpur, talked about Ujjwala scheme, Atal incumbation centre and infrastructure amid sloganeering, appealed Opposition to come forward and discuss development.

Followed by Zero Hour, the house continued debate on Motion to thank the President’s address.

After this discussion shifted on Housing and Urban Development, Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said by 2022 every citizen will be able to have a house of his/her own through Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana.

Joining the debate, Dhruvanarayana, Karnataka MP, suggested that the fund should be allocated based on the population.

The Minister explains the grant is processed based on requirements raised by the State.

Why less grant to Bihar for SC scholarship, asks a BJP member from Bihar. He points out that in certain schemes such as scholarship for post-graduate SC students, the grant is nil.

Responding to this Thaawar Chand Gahlot, Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment said the allocation is actually higher than previous years.

BJD MP from Odisha, Kulamani Samal asked about reduction in allocation in funds for SC welfare schemes.

The lower house reconvened amid sloganeering.

Later, Opposition MPs created a ruckus over ceasefire violation in Kashmir region, which resulted adjournment of the house for 10 minutes.

Proceedings began with Question Hour. MoS Home Affairs Hansraj Ahir replied to questions pertaining to Central Armed Police Forces.

Rajya Sabha 

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told the Parliament that “Andhra Pradesh’s Chief Minister had written about a funding from NABARD. The funding would reduce the borrowing pace. I think a solution by which the amount will be given without an issue can be worked out. The amount will be the same”, the Hindu quoted.

When the session reconvened, AIADMK MP from Tamil Nadu, Vijila Satyanath started the motion of thanks for President’s address.

In the meantime, Leader of Opposition (LOP) Ghulam Nabi Azad told media that opposition parties have decided to boycott Rajya Sabha for the day alleging that the RS Chairman did not allow them to speak and raise issues.

Minutes after proceedings started, the house adjourned till 3 p.m  following an uproar by the opposition over their voice being “muzzled” in the House.

The Chairman then adjourned the house till 2 p.m.

Naidu asked the TMC leader not to raise the issue of the Governor in the House but O’Brian continued with his remarks.

As TMC’s notice was rejected, party member Derek O’Brian opposed the move. He was heard asking how a Governor can interfere in an elected government’s work.

Rajya Sabha chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu rejected adjournment motions brought by parties such as Trinamool Congress, Akali Dal, and Telugu Desam.

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India

Govt to move six Bills in LS for passage on Monday

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Parliament of India

The central government is slated to move six Bills, including four pertaining to ordinances, for passage in the Lok Sabha on Monday. These Bills will be moved soon after the House assembles for the day at 3 pm.

The Bills are related to the Ministries of Home Affairs, Finance, and Health.

These are the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2020; Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Second Amendment) Bill, 2020; Factoring Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2020; Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Bill, 2020; Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Bill, 2020; and Indian Medicine Central Council (Amendment) Bill, 2020.

As per the legislative Business of the Lok Sabha, Home Minister Amit Shah’s name is listed to move the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2020, for passage.

The FCRA Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on Sunday to make earlier law more stringent and make Aadhaar number mandatory for registration and give government powers to stop utilisation of foreign funds by an organisation through a “summary enquiry”.

The Bill, which seeks amendment to the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010, proposes to include “public servants” in the prohibited category and decrease administrative expenses through foreign funds by an organisation to 20 per cent from 50 per cent earlier.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will move the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Second Amendment) Bill, 2020 to amend the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016, as passed by the Rajya Sabha, for consideration and passage.

The Bill will replace the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 promulgated by the President on June 5 this year.

She will also move the Factoring Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2020 for consideration and passage. The Bill provides amendment to the Factoring Regulation Act, 2011.

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan will move the Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Bill, 2020 for consideration and passage. The Bill seeks amendment to the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, as passed by the Rajya Sabha. The Bill will replace the Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 promulgated by the President on April 22 this year.

The Minister will also move the Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Bill, 2020 for passage. The Bill seeks amendment to the Homoeopathy Central Council Act, 1973, as passed by the Rajya Sabha. It will replace the Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 promulgated by the President on April 24 this year.

Harsh Vardhan will later move the Indian Medicine Central Council (Amendment) Bill, 2020 for its passage. The Bill seeks to amend the Indian Medicine Central Council Act, 1970, as passed by the Rajya Sabha. It will replace the Indian Medicine Central Council (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 which was promulgated by the President on April 24 this year.

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SC on Shaheen Bagh: Right to protest must not hamper right to mobility of others

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Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on Monday said Right to Protest of one section has to be in balance with others’ Right to Mobility on a public road, as everyone has the right to move from one place to another and this right cannot be prejudiced by blocking a public road to hold protests.

A bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Krishna Murari and Aniruddha Bose after nearly a gap of seven months took up the pleas against the anti-CAA protesters blocking the public road at Shaheen Bagh in Delhi.

At the beginning of the hearing the bench queried the petitioners if they were willing to withdraw the plea. One of the petitioners replied that they were not.

Advocate Amit Sahni, another petitioner in the matter, argued that these kind of incidents should not repeat in future and in the larger public interest a decision must be taken in the matter.

Advocate Mehmood Pracha, appearing for intervenors, argued before the bench that right to peacefully protest is absolute, and it is the right of the people to protest against Citizenship (Amendment) Act and National Register of Citizens as a concept.

Justice Kaul said we are not disputing your right to peacefully protest. Sahni urged the bench to keep this matter pending and an elaborate order may be passed.

Pracha submitted that “some people went to the protest place and then riots happened, and I don’t want to name them”. He added that the number of protesters cannot be shown in bad light by misusing the state machinery.

“It is not that state machinery is absolutely right. Why a person connected with a political party went their and riots happened,” argued Pracha, citing need for a universal policy on right to protest peacefully.

Justice Bose replied that the right to protest needs to be balanced out with the mobility on public road. Justice Kaul said there cannot be a universal policy as situation vary and cited process of debate in the Parliament.

“The place where it becomes problematic, we have to see where it can be balanced out,” noted the bench. Justice Kaul also appreciated the interlocutors, who helped the court in finding a solution to the matter.

The bench noted that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has created another dimension.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, objected to Pracha’s argument. ‘Right to assemble is subjected to reasonable restrictions….We have places like Jantar Mantar, where protest can be held, but blocking of roads cannot be allowed,” said Mehta.

The bench agreed with Centre’s contention that people can’t claim absolute right to hold protest but said that people have right to hold peaceful protests, and this shouldn’t cause inconvenience to general public.

The bench, reserving the order in the matter in the petitions seeking removal of protestors from Shaheen Bagh, said that the matter has become infructuous due to supervening circumstance of Covid with protestors vacating the road, but added that it will pass a short order to deal with such situations.

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Mamata fumes at suspension of MPs

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Mamata Banerjee

 West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday condemned the suspension of eight MPs who fought to protect the interests of farmers in Parliament, dubbing the move as “unfortunate”.

Banerjee also came down heavily on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government at the Centre protesting its “undemocratic norms and principles” of functioning.

“Suspension of the eight MPs who fought to protect farmers’ interests is unfortunate and reflective of this autocratic Government’s mindset that doesn’t respect democratic norms and principles,” Banerjee tweeted.

Eight opposition members, including Trinamool Congress’ Rajya Sabha leader Derek O’Brien, were suspended from the Rajya Sabha this morning for the rest of the session over unprecedented chaos in the Upper House during the passing of controversial farm bills on Sunday.

Besides O’Brien, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)’s Sanjay Singh, Congress’s Rajeev Satav and CPI-M’s KK Ragesh, were told they had displayed “unruly behaviour especially with the Chair and gross disorderly conduct”.

“We won’t bow down and we will fight this fascist Government in Parliament and on the streets,” the Trinamool supremo added in her tweet, accusing the BJP of killing democracy in the country.

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